Camping in a gravel pit

Day 97, stage 74, 185km

Start, Nata Lodge

Finish, Bush Camp

Life didn’t get better. The wind switched form southeast to northwest. What the F…? Who is in charge? We had been living with the southeast wind since the Sudan. The day we turn the corner the wind decides to turn as well? Not possible. Well yes it was. And today we had to do 185 to a camp in the middle of the bush – so no Whimpy’s, no Botswana bonus.

So we fought the wind until lunch. But it was still morning so it wasn’t full strength. But after lunch we got lucky. The wind started to help us. It became flukey. It wasn’t a steady, prevailing southeast wind, but it wasn’t a steady, prevailing northwest wind either. We started to get thermal winds. It would be behind us for 10km then across us, then into for 15km. It played up but it wasn’t a total disaster. In the end I think we had slightly more favourable winds than unfavourable. This was good for the legs and good for the morale.

What wasn’t so good for the morale was that we had another accident this morning. Claus, who is in his sixties and did the Tour last year, until he crashed in Kenya and broke his hip, had another accident. About 8 or 10 km out of camp this morning a big truck pulling a trailer brushed Claus and he hit the deck. It appears the truck’s trailer had swayed a bit in the wind and that is what brushed Claus. Unfortunately the driver ran. He didn’t stop. But a woman in a nearby petrol station saw what happened and went to the police station that was conveniently just across the road. The driver was caught and is probably still in jail. Claus was taken to the hospital in Maun for Xrays. The fear was that he had broken his hip again. But fortunately he didn’t. He was still in a lot of pain, with a fair bit of soft tissue damage. He is still in a wheel chair but mending well. We hope he will be able to rejoin us in Windhoek. Some people have all the luck.

Camp was in what looked like a gravel pit in the middle of nowhere. ‘nough said. There was a small collection of houses a couple of km down the road however so many of us cycled there in search of a cold drink. We found one small shop and raided it. We no longer have one or two cokes at a coke stop. After days like today we now have 4 or 5. The poor girl in the shop had to write down the details of every individual sale in a school exercise book – item code, item description, price paid. When you sell a dozen items a day that is probably manageable. When TdA descends and clears your shelves, it becomes a bit shambolic.


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